The Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (TRC) which comes directly under President Maithripala Sirisena has moved to seal transmission towers operated by TNL, the electronic media outfit owned by Shan Wickremesinghe.
The TRC’s sudden decision follows a programme on comments made by the President at a ceremony commemorating the late Ven Madoluwawe Sobitha Thero where the presented said that recent statements made by him indicated a certain confusion (vyaakoolathaavaya).
The commentary included reference to contradictions in various statements made by Sirisena with regard to the 100-days programme and also implied that he had a hand in the controversial deal to purchase a Russian ship which, TNL suggests was the reason for the Navy Commander’s tenure not being extended as well as the resignation of the then Secretary to the Ministry of Defence, Karunasena Hettiarachchi.
Meanwhile TNL has said that the TRC has sealed its transmission station in Polgahawela and that those who carried out this order were in the process of removing equipment from the premises. TNL expressed disgust at this move in a context where the station has made all relevant payments to the TRC.
Colombo Telegraph reliably learns that TRC personnel are on their way to TNL’s transmission station in Karagahatenne, possibly to seal that facility as well.
Incidentally, Shan Wickremesinghe is the brother of Prime Minister and and the leader of the United National Party, Sirisena’s main coalition partner in the ‘Unity Government’. He is by training a broadcast engineer and was the founder of Sri Lanka’s first television station, ITN.
However, Shan Wickremesinghe is not known to toe the line of his bother’s party.